I’m reading Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different* and came across a quote that I’ve been thinking about nonstop:
I don’t mean to ruin the ending for you, sweet child, but life is one long headwind. To make any kind of impact requires self-will bordering on madness. The world will be hostile, it will be suspicious of your intent, it will misinterpret you, it will inject you with doubt, it will flatter you into self-sabotage. My G-d, I’m making it sound so glamourous and personal! What the world is, more than anything? It’s indifferent. … But you have a vision. You put a frame around it. You sign your name anyway. That’s the risk. That’s the leap. That’s the madness: thinking anyone’s going to care (p.96).
Writing a blog is complete hubris. Why the hell should I believe that anyone wants to read this drivel? Half the time, I finish a post and think, “Should I bother posting this? Maybe it would be better to just keep telling these thoughts to Truman instead.” (Truman gets all of my thoughts first, and you get the cliff notes version of my mental vomit.) Why click the publish button?
And yet I clearly do.
The ChickieNob and I have an enormous new project that we recently started since work is winding down on the book. Every morning I wake up saying to myself, “What the hell are we thinking? Why are we writing this? No one will want to read it. We are wasting our time.” By noon, I’m doubting that thought. By after school, we’re energized and brainstorming. By evening, we are giddy with our own brilliance. And then I go to sleep, and it all starts again.
We’re going to write anyway, as Semple would say. We’re going to jump into the madness of thinking that anyone’s going to care because… why not? I mean, why the hell not? If it fails, it fails, and no harm is done except wasted time and bruised ego. If it succeeds, it succeeds, and we ride off into the sunset like rodeo clowns. (In this mental image, the ChickieNob and I are always dressed as rodeo clowns, gearing up for our performance as the sunsets in the ring.)
I guess I’m just passing along this quote in case it helps you, too.
* It is such a good book. She is the queen of making unlikable characters that you end up liking anyway (though they don’t deserve it). I consider her the anti-Franzen, who makes unlikable characters that you continue to dislike even after you put the book down.